Jiji Press WASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — Japan and the United States decided to extend their minister-level trade talks, which started in Washington on Thursday, to a second day in hope of reducing gaps in their positions.
The discussion between Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer lasted about 2½ hours on the first day.
“We’ve deepened our understanding about each other’s position and way of thinking,” Motegi told a press conference after the talks. “We had a good discussion.”
But the approaches on trade taken by the two countries apparently remained apart.
The U.S. side showed its willingness to launch negotiations with Japan with an eye on a bilateral free trade agreement, according to sources with access to the talks.
Meanwhile, the Japanese side reiterated its policy to lay stress on multilateral economic partnerships, insisting that the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement would be the best both for Japan and the United States, the sources said.
The two sides agreed on the need to achieve results at an early date.
Motegi did not clarify whether his discussion with Lighthizer touched on the United States’ possible imposition of additional tariffs on automotive imports and Washington requested Japan to further open its market of agricultural products.
“Once the talks are over, I’ll speak about them as much as I can,” the Japanese minister said.
Working-level officials from the two countries were present in the first 20 minutes of the first-day meeting. Motegi and Lighthizer had one-on-one discussion for the rest of the time.
The Office of the USTR said in a statement that Motegi and Lighthizer had a thorough and constructive discussion.